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I found this general article:

http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/northamerica/linked/hunters.html

From the site:

"The effectiveness of the tool making traditions of the Americas are well documented in the bone deposits and hunting sites through out the area. Among many of these sites, horse, mammoth, beaver, sloth, bison, woolly mammoth, mastodon, and saber toothed tiger can be found in just one site. Even the North American native horse was driven to extinction by the North American Hunters (the horse species was not reintroduced until well into the Spanish Conquest)."

And here's a review of Tim Flannery's "Eternal Frontier". Ellis mentioned he was Australian of the year. If you haven't read the book do so. I'm sure it'll strike a chord.

http://skepdic.com/refuge/flannery.html

From the review:

"Flannery does not think it was climate or coincidence that the three major human invasions of North America were followed by mass extinctions of large mammals. The European invasion may look more egregious than the others because the slaughters are more easily documented, there were many more European invaders than there were Asians in the earlier migrations into North America, and the Europeans brought an abundance of germs and guns. The first settlers only had spears but they wiped out the mastodons and mammoths. They wiped out the horse, too, but they killed these animals for food, thinks Flannery. Europeans killed buffalo for fun. They also shot and killed millions of carrier pigeons for fun. Proving they were not completely senseless savages, however, they shot Indians for land and sport."

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Cool.
& here's some more from that Nat.Geo. article.

And little worms can trigger big changes. The hardwood forests of New England and the upper Midwest, for instance, have no native earthworms—they were apparently wiped out in the last Ice Age. In such worm-free woodlands, leaf litter piles up in drifts on the forest floor. But when earthworms are introduced, they can do away with the litter in a few months. The problem is that northern trees and shrubs beneath the forest canopy depend on that litter for food. Without it, water leaches away nutrients formerly stored in the litter. The forest becomes more open and dry, losing much of its understory, including tree seedlings.

Whether the night crawler and the red marsh worm actually first arrived on Rolfe's tobacco ships is not known. What is clear is that much of the northern forests in America were worm free until the Europeans arrived there, inadvertently importing earthworms on the root-balls of their plants or in the ballast of ships. The effects of this earthworm invasion have been slow to show themselves because the creatures don't spread rapidly on their own. "If they're born in your backyard, they'll stay inside the fence their whole lives," says John Reynolds, editor of Megadrilogica, the premier earthworm journal. But over time, the effect on the ecosystem can be dramatic.


as I said somewhere else about the worms and bees, "I was stunned."

~SAM


Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.
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...and thanks for the second post (top of page) also.

I LOL at the last sentence of the 'review.' A very insightful characterization.

Thanks again; and wow, that first link (p.2) is way cool (no pun...).

~SA


Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.
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I had always thought that the horse reached America through the Spanish invaders. Looks like I was wrong!

Flannery is someone even our annoying Prime Minister listens to, though he has upset some by guarded support for Nuclear Energy. We have none and only one small reactor that produces solely medical supplies. Flannery supports NE because it is less atmosphere polluting than coal (of which we have HEAPS and HEAPS-hence our cheap electricity). However he also supports other forms of alternative energy, unlike the aforementioned annoying bloke.

Whist I agree there is some room for debate as to the cause, how can anyone not think the climate is changing? Record April and now May temperatures here this month after very hot weather (record breaking in some places) all summer.

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People like Flannery have one agenda - sell books. This stuff belongs in the Tabloid section of the Supermarket, along with the reports that we are in imminent danger of an Alien invasion, or that Atlantis is rising.

An addage of how to make money in the New Age - Find a niche and fill it.

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And to show we should always expect the unexpected, another item from supermarket tabloids:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21634367-30417,00.html

It seems just because there has been water in Lake Eyre at times we can't assume it was therefore raining nearby. The floods in Queensland have filled rivers that drain into the lake but the surrounding country is drought-striken. Interpretation of ancient data is even less straightforward than we thought.

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When I was a kid, I kept Freshwater Tropical Fish. I recall that, back then, you could buy killifish eggs through the mail. These were the eggs of a small colorful fish that could be kept indeterminately out of water.. Appearently they thrive in the lakes of Oz that dry out during the Dry Season. The idea was that you could introduce these eggs into your home aquarium, no matter where you lived in the world, and they would hatch and develop with no ill effects.

Killifish. Funny how things like that stay in your mind well into Adulthood.

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Wolfman wrote:

"People like Flannery have one agenda - sell books."

But isn't that the reason people write books? I don't think we can dismiss what he says just for that reason. Are you not prepared to read anything written for the commercial market? Obviously I've noticed on other threads you are uncomfortable with the idea that pre-European inhabitants of America were pretty much as destructive as the European immigrants. But I'm afraid the evidence is fairly decisive. Besides, from the review:

"The Eternal Frontier should be required reading of everybody in North America. It won't be, of course, because it does not cater to the religious right, the fundamentalists and creationists who think the Bible is a science text that tells them to believe the earth is some 6,000 years old."

It's my observation, for what it's worth, that people are prepared to pay money to read all sorts of rubbish that shows science is wrong and the Bible is basically correct after all. But it's almost impossible to sell anything that proves the Bible is fundamentally wrong. I suppose mister Flannery could make much more money if he wrote books of the first sort.

About the killifish. Have they escaped into the wild in North America? That's what most things introduced as pets do here.

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Terry, I just have a hard time, personally, seeing our poorly armed primitive ancestors as the "Mighty Hunters" depicted by Hollywood and suggested by those who ascribe to the Mammoth-wiped-out-by-Man Theory.

As for the Killifish, they are extremely ph sensitive, as I recall, and need an alkaline environment. And, at 40mm in length with mediocre swimming ability, the'd be hard pressed to survive very long in NA waters.

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Thanks Wolf. Humans don't have to be "Mighty Hunters" to wipe out species. The Maoris who arrived here were hardly in that category yet they wiped out dozens of species. I suspect very few species have died out through hunting. It's precipitous ecological change that stuffs them up. Maoris brought in the rat and the dog, and fire. Cook remarked on the widespread fires here as he moved along the coast, many of them far inland where it is now obvious virtually no Maoris lived.

The Australian Aborigines were also hardly mighty hunters yet a huge number of species died out soon after humans arrived there. Anyway we've been through all this before on another thread.

Regarding the books. There is a big market here for books that claim to provide evidence the Maori were not the first people here. Everything is proposed with all sorts of imaginary evidence: Phoenicians, Celts, Egyptians. Seems enough people doubt the scientists version of our history to provide a good market for such books. In my previous post I was specifically thinking of the book "1421 the year China discovered the world". Big seller but totally imaginary evidence for an ancient Chinese presence in NZ. But that's another subject.

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I wouldn't call The Australian a tabloid.

This filling of Lake Eyre only happens when there are flooding rains in the north and it takes months for the water to travel from the north where this time they had floods around Christmas. It is now reaching Lake Eyre, which is normally a salt-flat. Oddly it is also a pelican breeding ground when filled. They feed on the frogs, fish and other wildlife that hide waiting in the dry mud for rain. A few years ago the birds made a mistake and many chicks died when not enough of the water got to the lake. This flow doesn't happen every year and it looks as though this year, while the flow is good, and the wildlife will be able to breed, the lake will not fill right up.

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Ellis wrore:

"I wouldn't call The Australian a tabloid."

Nor would I. Sorry Ellis, I was just having a quiet dig at Wolfy. Perhaps unjustified. The Australian was the main newspaper I bought when living there. Occasionally Sydney Morning Herald. The Oz is pretty good although conservative. But most newspapers are. They're have to be owned by wealthy people so that's not at all surprising.

Lake Eyre is certainly an unusual place. Has there been a time over the last 40,000 years when it was full of water for years at a stretch?

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I've not read "The Australian" for years, back inna day it WAS borderline Tabloid. The "Boy Raised By Dingos" and all that fluff. Boys raised by Wolves, don't get me started, OK?

But the "Melbourne Truth", don't tell ME that's not a tabloid. Do they still feature the "Chest of the Day?" regarding photos of sheilahs? And what about the comic strip "Ned and His Neddie?" Is that still running? I used to love that stuff. Of course, I was a lot younger then.

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The Truth no longer exists. It was awful! "The Age" is a good Melbourne paper, good web site too. "The Sun" is the tabloid you are all hoping for. Whilst it doesn't have a Page 3 girl it only needs a reading age of 10 to understand it. It does have a decent cryptic crossword though- surprisingly!

Wolfman-I am happy to say I have no recollection at all of Ned or his Neddie!

In the 70s (when we had rain) Lake Eyre filled most years, but I don't remember it being ever consistently fill for years and years, though It obviously must have been full when Eyre found it. It is very brackish water. Of course in this area of Australia there is little recorded evidence of climates, weather or trends until about 200 years ago.

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Now that sounded really rude--I apologise and did not mean to imply that SGG habitues had 10 year old reading ages!!! I merely meant (for example) that it can be interesting to see complex issues reduced to headlines with words of one syllable sometimes.

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Hey. This is interesting:

http://info.anu.edu.au/mac/Newsletters_a...er/_deserts.asp

From the article:

“In previous interglacial periods (which are the warm, wetter climate periods in Australia in the glacial-interglacial cycles) Lake Eyre has always filled to a relatively large permanent water body. It was probably twice the size of the present salt lake and 25 metres deep 130,000 years ago. But in the present interglacial, which began about 12,000 years ago, there was some reactivation of the lake, but only at a very low level. We see this as quite anomalous.”

What caused this? Wolfman. Take note:

"To find out which of these extinction causes were most likely, the researchers turned back to the eggshells. By studying carbon isotopes in the fragments, they were able to detect a change in emu diets from a range of leafy shrubs, small trees and nutritious grasses to exclusively scrub plants but very few grasses. This suggests that the ecological landscape was altered dramatically around 50,000 years ago. Magee and Miller believe that the most plausible hypothesis is that the use of fire by humans changed the face of the continent, leading to the extinction of less-adaptable herbivores like Genyornis."

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Cool Terry,

Sounds as if it's too late to join in the celebrations and general festivities surrounding they're focus.
"The United Nations has declared 2006 the International Year of Deserts and Desertification."


Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.
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Now the horses:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/horses/horse_evol.html

From the site:

"Most horse species, including all the ancestors of Equus, arose in North America."

"During the first major glaciations of the late Pliocene (2.6 Ma), certain Equus species crossed to the Old World. Some entered Africa and diversified into the modern zebras. Others spread across Asia, the Mideast, & N. Africa as desert-adapted onagers and asses. Still others spread across Asia, the Mideast, and Europe as the true horse, E. caballus. Other Equus species spread into South America."

Seems zebras, donkeys and horses have diversified just in the last 2-3 million years. Hybrids are only just infertile. Humans diversified more recently. Were they in fact different species, unable to produce fertile offspring?

And, sorry about this:

"In the late Pleistocene there was a set of devastating extinctions that killed off most of the large mammals in North and South America. All the horses of North and South America died out (along with the mammoths and saber-tooth tigers). These extinctions seem to have been caused by a combination of climatic changes and overhunting by humans, who had just reached the New World. For the first time in tens of millions of years, there were no equids in the Americas."

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Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.
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Interesting. The water influences the proportion of nitrogen in the vegetation and the ratio of C4 to C3. Everything is intimately interconnected. Can't resist another quote from the article:

"The coincidence in time of megafauna extinction and ecosystem collapse shortly after the arrival of modern humans, and the lack of similar changes during dramatic climate change earlier in the Quaternary, suggests there may be a causal link."

I promise I won't do it again.

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